As a center of intellectual life at SMU, Central University Libraries has been
encouraging the discovery and acquisition of knowledge since the opening of the
first SMU library in Dallas Hall in 1915. CUL is now the largest component of
the University Library System and considers its primary goal to be the creation
of a 21st century library that uses technology as a catalyst for learning,
supports the research needs of the academic community and provides comfortable
and graceful physical settings conducive to study, research and intellectual
CUL has a distinguished record of providing a high level of personalized service and support to the University, and can take pride in its significant contributions to SMU’s progress over the years. CUL’s collections, at over two million volumes, make up the heart of the collections on campus. The SMU Libraries together constitute the largest private academic library in the Southwest. CUL’s collections are both broad and deep, and include not only printed materials, such as books and periodicals, but other media as well; for example, manuscripts, prints, maps, photographs, films, videotapes and DVDs, sound recordings, and electronic resources.
Notable areas of specialization within CUL include the DeGolyer Library, home to over 120,000 rare books as well as two million manuscripts and other archival collections. The Hamon Arts Library houses over 180,000 volumes of fine and performing arts materials, the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, and the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection. The Foscue Map Library, located in Fondren, contains over 250,000 maps; and the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man Reading Room offers more than 10,000 books and journals, chiefly focused on geology and anthropology. Finally, at the Taos campus in New Mexico, the Fort Burgwin Library serves the needs of the academic programs of SMU-in-Taos, with particular strengths in Native American studies, Southwestern history and literature, geology, and anthropology. The collection contains over 6,000 books and journals.
CUL's collections contribute directly to the University’s goals of “enhancing the academic quality and stature of the University,” “improving teaching and learning,” and “strengthening scholarly research and creative achievement.” For example, the DeGolyer Library collects rare books and manuscripts that support the curriculum in Dedman College, especially doctoral programs in English and History. The Hamon Arts Library actively supports the research and curriculum of the Meadows School of the Arts, and has strong collections in Spanish art and 19th and 20th century French music. Within the Hamon Library, the Bywaters Collection concentrates on arts of the Southwest, and the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection provides instructional and research support for the study of moving images, with collection highlights including the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection, and the Sulphur Springs Collection of pre-nickelodeon films. The Fondren Library Center’s collection of over 1.8 million volumes supports the programs of Dedman College, the School of Engineering, the Simmons School of Education and Human Development and (in partnership with the Business Information Center) the Cox School of Business. Fondren Library’s collection also goes beyond strict curricular needs to provide representative texts that support the study of all areas of human knowledge not represented by other libraries on campus.
The varied campus library facilities support access to these collections. Fondren Library Center is a popular location for individual and group study, and the number of people using the library continues to increase. In response to student demand for quiet, secure study space, Fondren is now open 24 hours daily during the fall and spring semesters, providing continuous access to a learning environment. CUL provides almost 200 computers for in-library use with up-to-date software, full Internet access, and high-speed black/white and color printing capability. Wireless Internet access and wireless printing are available throughout CUL buildings and wireless access is available on the outdoor patios as well. Generous site licenses negotiated by Collection Development staff allow walk-in patrons access to many of our digital resources.
Hamon Arts Library is also popular among students, not only those in the Meadows School of the Arts, but in the general population as well, having comfortable, well-lit study areas and multi-functional group study rooms for media viewing. The new Norwick Center for Digital Services, adjacent to the Information Commons in Fondren Library, includes the Student Multimedia Center where students can create multimedia projects for class assignments and practice their presentations, a film screening room and a digital projects area where staff can digitize CUL collections. The DeGolyer Library finds its seminar room and exhibit facilities frequently used. The Texana Room, with its oak panelling and book-lined walls, is considered a premium venue for lectures, seminars and regular meetings. The SMU Board of Trustees annually holds its February meeting in DeGolyer’s Stanley Marcus Reading Room, which also serves as CUL’s largest event space, holding about 150 people.